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Renovations for a more hurricane-resistant home

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Mother nature is unpredictable and unstoppable. We saw this first hand with the devastation unleashed along the Florida panhandle during hurricane Michael.

On Thursday, NBC 15 we showed you roof to foundation ways to build a hurricane resilient home.

Now, we’re looking into what you can do to strengthen existing houses.

From floodplain managers to our state representatives, those locally involved in improving building codes and standards practice what they preach on their own properties.

“I heard about all good reasons to do it and it cut my insurance premium by two thirds,” Representative Steve McMillan said.

“It shouldn’t be something that the homeowner should be afraid to go after in fact they should,” Smart Home America floodplain manager Hank Hodde said.

Hodde recently had to re-roof his historical midtown home so he took that opportunity to build it to a fortified standard.

“Basically, the roof as a system is tied to the walls, plywood is stronger, there's an increased nailing pattern with stronger nails and then there's a water barrier between the plywood and shingles,” Hodde said.

Building experts say there's a way to retrofit if you recently finished your roof too.

Costs of building fortified versus regular are typically only one to three percent higher.

“For either existing or new construction, you can pretty much get there for like a thousand to fifteen hundred dollars and that would include the inspections we require,” Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s FORTIFIED Market Development Manager Alex Cary said.

After the roof, look at the openings into your home. If you can afford it, look at getting impact-rated windows, doors and garages. You can also strengthen what you already have.

“Since these are not impact windows, they would have a hurricane shutter that they will be applying to the outside,” Cary showed us, adding “They’ll put permanent fasteners around the whole window making it easy for a homeowner to apply the shutter.”

Windows and doors near corners experience more pressure than those in the middle of a wall.

A University of Alabama study shows fortified homes also increase in resale value by nearly 7 percent.

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